French GP Thursday press conference

Drivers: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) Jarno Trulli (Jordan) Team Personnel: Pierre Dupasquier (Michelin) Enrique Scalabroni (Asiatech) Jean Todt (Ferrari) Enrique, tell us about yourself. Enrique Scalabroni: I am in control of the...

Drivers:
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
Jarno Trulli (Jordan)

Team Personnel:
Pierre Dupasquier (Michelin)
Enrique Scalabroni (Asiatech)
Jean Todt (Ferrari)

Enrique, tell us about yourself.

Enrique Scalabroni: I am in control of the operation we took over last year from Peugeot. We are working on last year's engine this year and developing it and are in the middle of a new design for next year.

Do you have your reliability problems solved?

ES: The question of reliability is never solved, because the moment that you increase performance, then automatically you push the engine into a critical direction and then you need to solve that as well. It is the same thing to design a car as in engines, that is critical engineering work. Engineers are paid to solve problems, not to create problems. That is politics. The best thing is to be completely out of politics and concentrate on technical problems and solve them. That is a very straightforward mentality that I learned from Patrick Head.

We understood last weekend that you won't be supplying Arrows next year; who will you be supplying?

ES: At the moment, yes, we made an announcement that we will change direction. At the moment we are analysing what direction we will go and shortly we will announce that. You can count the number of teams with the fingers of your hand, not too many, and the names are there and we need to see which is the best operation to do, what we have at the moment and what the teams have.

You're not worried about not supplying anyone?

ES: I am not worried about anything. That is the financial exercise that is not in my job and this needs to be decided by the people in Asia. John Gano (company president)will not be present at this race because he is flying tonight to Asia to talk with the main people in the group and with them, we need to explain exactly the situation and it is up to them to take the decision. It is not a technical decision, it is not my business. It is a matter of the future development of the company that we enter with and with the teams that we are working.

Jarno, many disappointments this year, how do keep up the motivation and morale?

Jarno Trulli: It's always disappointing when you can't finish races, especially when you are in the points, but that is racing. You have to keep working, with the team, to try to develop and push more and more. Try to get reliability, which is what we need at the moment. It's difficult, but I have to say that I'm almost used to that, because in my five years in Formula One I never had a really competitive and reliable car, so I always try to do my best in ever race, I just forget what happened before and every weekend hope that it's going to be alright. That's why I look so strong at every race, because I have had bad luck before.

It seems to be there in qualifying, but then the speed seems to go away in the race. What happens?

Mb>JaTr: Since last year, we have analysed a lot of the data, but we found that very often we had a good car in qualifying and our performance wasn't far away from the top teams, but we lose quite a lot of performance during the race which is related to tyre wear. We suffer quite a lot of tyre wear which affects our performance a lot during a 60 or 70 lap race. We are analysing data, we are trying to find a solution, but it isn't easy, plus at the moment we are still waiting for development of the car and we can only hope we get that soon.

What's your own situation regarding your future with the team?

Mb>JaTr: At the moment my contract is due to run out at the end of the season. I will take the decision probably in one month and obviously I don't know yet what I will do.

This is the eighth anniversary of your appointment with Ferrari; how do you keep up the motivation?

Jean Todt: Of course it's different to when I arrived eight years ago. Now I lead a dream team of very good people, we are all very happy together. The team is strong, the spirit is strong, Ferrari is a great company and still has a passion for motor racing, so I may not be very young any more but still able to do and be willing to do the job.

The dream is in place until 2004, but to what extent can you prepare for after that?

JeTo: That's a good thing in Formula One, because what ever you do, you always think about the future. If I will say what is happening from 2004 to 2010 you will ask what are you going to do after 2010? Definitely, 2004 is nearly two and a half years in front of us. It is decided in my head that somebody will take over my position after 2004. That's one of the reasons why we are strong, because we are not worried about somebody taking over your position. I hope that, together with my group, I will be able to identify the good people for Ferrari to succeed after 2004, but bearing in mind that the first appointment is 2001. We need to do well. We are doing quite well, but things can change very quickly. We have eight races in front of us, so we must be focused on the present time and then speak about the next year and the new car. So on one side we see quite a long way in front of us, and be focused on the day by day.

Michael, who do you see now as your major rival still in the championship?

Michael Schumacher: Well, look at the points and it will come from there. There are still eight races to go and David has the main opportunity for the championship.

You're two wins off Alain Prost's record of wins. What were your thoughts about Alain when you were a young guy growing up? Did you ever think you would be in the position that you're in now?

MS: When I was a young chap I didn't know Alain was driving races, honestly. Many people know that my car didn't start with the focus on Formula One, so I wasn't aware until quite late that Formula One existed. I just drove go-karts and that was my world. I didn't have this Daddy taking me along and making me aware of all motor sport activities.

Will the record be a big thing?

MS: It's something I always keep saying about statistics: t will be something nice when I retire, but we have other focus in front of us and that's the main target.

After last weekend, we understand Ralf was a bit upset with your start; how have you managed to sort it out between you?

MS: I think the particularly reason - and Ralf has expressed this as well, although people don't like to listen because it doesn't suit their story - is that Ralf was quite upset about the 10 second stop and go penalty because he felt that this decision was a very hard one and I can only agree for what had happened to get what he did is a very hard decision. But then, on the other hand, the rule is there and we all ought to respect that sometimes it's hard to accept and sometimes it's the other way around. That is the main reason - and I said this after Sunday as well - that he wasn't too happy about what I did at the start, I can well imagine, I've been happy very unhappy with people who did the same to me and when you're behind, you're always the person who is unhappy. In front, you feel totally OK. That's the way it is. We don't have a particular problem with this. We talk about things and perhaps they're pretty clear. We race and we race for different companies and we have to maximise the opportunities and we have to use the rules in whatever way they allow us to until a certain point, obviously, and he's quite happy with that.

Pierre, everyone says that the warmer it gets, the better it is for Michelin; is that the case?

Pierre Dupasquier: I don't understand why. Even when I hear that, I ask, do you have an example of a cold race where Michelin isn't good and they answer No, that's it. We have done a very poor performance in the cold, rainy time at Imola on Saturday morning, very poor, but that was rain, cold rain, not only cold.

So is the suggestion that hot weather suits Michelin a myth?

PD: Let's find a situation with cold weather to find out. Very frankly speaking, I can't understand this, I can't answer.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Michael, will the battles with Ralf continue and if so, do you think it will get even tougher?

MS: The battles certain will continue. When you say tougher, we hopefully will see more real overtaking on the circuit. I don't know when that will happen but we have had very tough battles in the past, as we did at Nürburgring, and they will always be exciting.

Was the pit exit here changed following a request from the drivers?

MS: Certainly. We've had troubles in past years because of the different in speed between cars coming out of the pits and cars on circuit coming into the first corner, the different is dramatic, so we requested this change.

Michael, you sound a bit rough. Are you 100 per cent fit?

MS: I picked up flu on the Sunday in Nürburgring, so I was already sick then, so I'm much better compared to Nürburgring.

Williams won at Imola and Montreal where the engine is very important and now they've won at Nürburgring where the chassis is very important. Do you think they can win at all circuits?

MS: The fact is that we have seen more top speed for Williams than for anyone else so that means that in general it seems to favour whenever top speed is important these characteristic circuits more than us. But then we will find out when we come to real high speed circuits. We haven't been to one yet - Canada is sort of - but Monza or Hockenheim will tell us more what is the high speed situation. I think that if we hadn't had trouble in Canada we could have won that race.

Do you think that if Ralf starts winning successive races, and that if he prevents you perhaps from winning the title next year, the Schumacher brotherhood relationship will be as nice as it is today or will it suffer?

MS: Not at all. Certainly, 100 per cent, yes. Actually, I will be very delighted. As you know, I have achieved quite a lot and I will be very happy to see my brother doing very well.

Mr Todt, I believe the contract with Sauber goes until next year. Can you tell us about the Prost situation?

JeTo: You believe rightly that we will go forward with the Sauber team and we are delighted about the collaboration we have achieved and we are very proud of Peter's team to be fourth in the championship. Concerning Prost, we are discussing with Prost the engine for next year.

-FIA

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Michael Schumacher , Alain Prost , Patrick Head , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Williams , Jordan